IndyCar’s mad, hectic dash begins this weekend in Detroit

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With the month of May now officially in the rear view mirror, the IZOD IndyCar Series ramps up for its busiest and most hectic stretch of the 2013 season. Starting this weekend at Detroit, there will be five races in four weekends, on three different types of circuits.

IndyCar has its first doubleheader race weekend with full races Saturday and Sunday on the streets of Belle Isle, the Chevrolet Indy Dual in Detroit, presented by Quicken Loans. The race circuit has been altered to include a longer straight heading into Turn 3. It also marks the last road or street race until another doubleheader weekend in Toronto July 13-14.

After that, three straight oval weekends follow before a merciful one-week break. IndyCar hits its only 1.5-mile oval in Texas Saturday night, June 8, followed by another Saturday race on the Milwaukee Mile June 15, and a Sunday afternoon event at Iowa Speedway – IndyCar’s shortest oval at 0.875 of a mile – on June 23.

If Indianapolis was a thrash to find the right setup, balance and downforce levels, the next few weeks are the craziest of segments for the entire IndyCar circus. Crews will be working tireless hours doing car changeovers from street course to intermediate oval to short oval setups.

Whoever survives this stretch with the least amount of angst will be well-positioned for the second half of the season. Right now five races are in the books, and in another month, in the blink of an eye, 10 of 19 will be complete.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.